Lawmakers to revisit sports betting talks this year and local bars could reap the benefits

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The new year is well underway, which means possible law changes could be coming. 

One in particular has sports fans paying close attention.

The possible legalization of sports betting in Kansas could bring even more customers in to local bars.

Jose Chavez owns Flamingo Bar and Grill in Topeka, and bars like his could be the ones reaping the benefits of the possible legalization.

Chavez’s bar currently offers games like Keno and others provided through the Kansas Lottery. 

“Every time somebody buys something, we get a penny for anytime they buy a ticket,” said Chavez. “It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it helps with people coming in.”

Kansas lawmakers are expected to readdress the topic early this year after previous efforts to pass a bill didn’t result in much action.

One bill that was presented would allow bars offering Keno to also allow wagers.

However, sports gambling has also been met with some resistance. 

With concerns over scams and creating gambling addictions, bar customer Gary Smith said he thinks the positive impact it can have on the state would outweigh the potential problems.

“You have to funnel some of that revenue back into the state,” said Smith. “That’s the only way to make it a win win situation, not only for the people who participate, but for the state and the schools to get a part of the revenue.”

Those in support of the bill say it will bring in much needed extra revenue to bars and to the state.

However, there are still many questions about regulation and just how much the state would benefit that are keeping sports betting from becoming legal in Kansas.

Another possibility lawmakers are looking into is mobile sports betting through an app. 

Governor-elect Laura Kelly has also expressed support of looking into legalizing sports betting.



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